Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Apple faces $2 billion damages claim in Mannheim over wireless patents -- trial on Tuesday (Feb. 11)

On Tuesday (February 11, 2014), Apple will have to defend itself in a German patent trial against a damages claim amounting to 1.57 billion euros ($2.12 billion), plus prejudgment interest, brought by German patent monetizer IPCom over a wireless standard-essential patent (SEP) upheld (in a narrowed but allegedly still standard-essential form) by the European Patent Office (EPO) last month. In addition, Apple will have to fend off an infringement allegation over another patent.

IPCom has been suing Nokia and HTC for several years (in Mannheim, where it has already won various rulings, and other venues).

This morning the Mannheim Regional Court, which has adjudicated far more wireless patent cases than any other judicial forum on this planet, issued a press release, of which I'm providing my own, unofficial translation below:

Press release of February 5, 2014

Action for billion-euro partial claim and other matters to be tried before a panel of the Mannheim Regional Court

IPCom v. Apple (case nos. 2 O 53/12 and 2 O 95/13)

Starting at 9 AM on February 11, 2014 in Courtroom 1 of the Mannheim Regional Court, the Court's Second Civil Chamber will conduct a trial in two patent infringement lawsuits involving damages claims. The complaints were brought by IPCom GmbH & Co. KG (a patent monetization entity with its legal domicile in the Munich area). The defendants in both cases are Apple Inc. (the U.S. parent company), the Irish-based subsidiary handling Apple's European sales, and Apple's German retail subsidiary based in Frankfurt.

Both cases involve patents relating to ways to manage access to overloaded wireless communication channels by handsets.

The patent asserted in case no. 2 O 53/12, in which, inter alia, a partial claim of damages amounting to 1.57 billion euros ($2.12 billion), plus prejudgment interest, has been brought, is EP1841268. This patent has recently (on January 22, 2014) been the subject of a validity decision by the European Patent Office, in the first instance.

In case no. 2 O 95/13, in which no quantified damages claims but requests for an accounting and for declaratory judgment of liability for damages have been brought so far, the patent-in-suit is DE19910239, a German patent.

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